Sanjay Khan Denies Assaulting Zeenat Aman; So What Happened?

Sanjay Khan has recently released his autobiography, The Best Mistakes of My Life where he traverses his journey in Bollywood, life with his family Zarine and children, Sussanne, Simone, Farah and Zayed Khan, as well as his near-death accident. But the veteran actor has glossed over the much-talked about incident where he allegedly thrashed fellow actor and rumoured girlfriend, Zeenat Aman along with his wife, in full public view in Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai in 1980.

In his autobiography, Sanjay creates a parallel account in which he says he has often imagined making a new film after Abdullah, in which he played a prince and Zeenat a princess and in which the lovers part ways in the end.

"“In the years since, I’ve often wondered what the ending might be in a more realistic, contemporary story - a film I might make now. Would the princess really watch her prince gallop away and leave her life forever? Would not such a character, who clearly likes to get her own way, want some kind of revenge? In this ‘new’ film, I imagine the princess pursues the prince who has moved on with his life, and has a new love interest. However, he still cares for her and doesn’t want to hurt her.”" - Excerpt from Sanjay Khan’s The Best Mistakes of My Life

He then creates six scenes, where without taking any names, he talks about how the “princess” tries very hard to win over the “prince” who resists her “alluring” ways. The princess then forces her way into a dinner party where the prince and his beloved and friends are present.

"She is upset and announces for all the world to hear that he has treated her badly.  The prince tries to calm her down, but she is unrelenting. He is stunned and outraged. He retrains himself; the princess rushes out and disappears from his life forever.”" - Excerpt from Sanjay Khan’s The Best Mistakes of My Life

The last scene goes something like this:

"“Scene 6: The press has a field day. ‘A prince and a princess in a violent altercation in a posh hotel!’ They add all manner of embellishments to the story in an attempt to destroy the prince’s name.”" - Excerpt from Sanjay Khan’s The Best Mistakes of My LifeThe Media “Embellishments”

In 1980, cinema magazine Cine Blitz published a detailed account of Sanjay assaulting Zeenat, who was reportedly his second wife (the couple was rumoured to have tied the knot in a secret ceremony with two eye-witnesses in Jaiselmer, Rajasthan).

"“He did not give Zeenat a second to speak. He exhausted the vocabulary of smut on her. He used the most vulgar of abuse, called her a whore, a bitch. Accused her of sleeping (to put it mildly) with his brother Feroz Khan amongst several other men. If he had just slapped her hard a few times, one could have excused him. But what followed was one of the most brutal bash-ups any hotel staff could have witnessed. He hit her. She fell, he lifted her by her hair and hit her again. And again and again. One could only hear her wails. Flory (her hairdresser) fought her way through the barrier of guests and entered the adjoining room. Sanjay lifted her by the neck and flung her out.”" - Excerpt From Cine Blitz

When Sanjay’s wife walked in on the scene, she reportedly shouted, "Give the bitch what she deserves," and proceeded to hit Zeenat with her loaded handbag.

Excerpt From Cine Blitz
Excerpt From Cine Blitz
Excerpt From Cine Blitz

Zeenat Aman’s Take

Zeenat Aman, who suffered a partial injury in her right eye, years later, told Simi Garewal that she closed her mind to the physical abuse she suffered.

"“I pretend that it never happened. I don’t think about it. I don’t talk about it. That’s the best way to cope up with it.”" - Zeenat Aman, Actor

Zeenat Aman with Sanjay Khan worked in several films together and were in a serious relationship from 1977 to 1980.

And much later, when Zeenat was asked about domestic violence, in an interview with HT, she said, strongly condemned it.

“It’s inexcusable and a punishable crime. There is nothing further to say about it. The victim in an abusive relationship has to speak up. She needs to tell someone in the family or an authority in the family about it. If that doesn’t work, she must seek social counsellors or someone who can intervene. Unless your voice is heard, no one will be able to help you,” said Zeenat.

Out of Bounds

During the promotions of the book, Sanjay Khan was also quoted saying: “I’ve always followed a principle: Never cross the line. Of course there were many beautiful women who would vie for me and try to get into my orbit, but I would not senselessly cheapen myself by falling into their hands… I always thought that if I ever went and slept with another woman, what would my children and my wife say…?

At the launch event of The Best Mistakes of My Life, where reporters were invited for interviews of Sanjay Khan, it was stated that “no questions on #MeToo or Zeenat Aman” would be taken.

“When I insisted that this would be an interview pertaining to The Best Mistakes of My Life , I was politely told that the publishing house would prefer skipping the scheduled interview. It was 11 am, I was standing outside his house in Juhu. It was infuriating to say the least because if you aren't so keen to discuss your mistakes, you shouldn't have such a misleading title to your autobiography,” said Mohar Basu, a reporter from Mid-day.

Sanjay Khan’s book launch was attended by the fraternity in droves; Shatrughan Singa, Hema Malini, Dia Mirza, Sahil Sangha, Neelam Kothari, Samir Soni, Poonam Dhillon, Kabir Bedi and Apoorva Lakhia were among those present.

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